Team New Zealand have confirmed the cancellation of the America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth UK.
It was expected, but was finally announced following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s lockdown of local free movement in the battle against the coronavirus COVID-19, which continues an upward trend in cases and deaths in the UK.
In a statement Team New Zealand said . . .
Proceeding with the event in the current global climate would simply be irresponsible given the safety considerations.
We are also facing significant travel and logistical restrictions that are in place right now, and forecast to remain in the coming weeks and potentially months.
This decision was not taken lightly and now allows all of the teams to focus their attention on their respective operations in their home ports in the coming months, while planning logistics for their move to Auckland, and subsequent development, testing and preparations for ACWS Auckland (December 17-20), PRADA Cup (January 22-February 5) and the America’s Cup Match, presented by Prada (March 6-15).
Ben Ainslie, INEOS Team UK principal and helmsman said: “Whilst it’s a sad day for us as the home team, we completely agree with the decision to cancel the America’s Cup World Series, Portsmouth.”
For the America’s Cup teams it means a major logistic turn-around to get their boats – both 1st and 2nd versions – to Auckland, New Zealand.
The Kiwi boat is on its way to Europe and will have to be returned immediatly to New Zealand, involving almost five months at sea.
American Magic is returning to Rhode Island from training in Florida and will head to Auckland if and when travel restrictions lift there.
The status of Italy’s Luna Rossa is not known following a dismasting and recent damage to the bow. There is also talk of financial problems for the Prada empire of team principal Patrizio Bertelli.
And then there is Ainslie’s Ineos Team UK which is returning from Sardinia to Portsmouth after the first ACWS event there was cancelled.
The progress of their second AC75 is not known.
New Zealand has been little effected by coronavirus COVID-19 to date, with 102 cases and has had no deaths (23 Mar) in the 5 million population.
The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just announced a move to self-isolation, with all-non-essential services, schools and offices to be shut over the next 48 hours.
New Zealand has already closed its borders to foreigners.